The biggest improvement that the LA Chargers made during the 2023 offseason was not on the field, it was at offensive coordinator. Los Angeles fired Joe Lombardi after losing in the AFC Wild Card Round and after a weeks-long search, landed one of the most respected coordinators in the sport, Kellen Moore.
This was a long time coming for Chargers fans who were sick of watching Lombardi's offense. Lombardi treated star quarterback Justin Herbert like he was a 40-year-old Drew Brees and did not take advantage of his massive arm talent (among other issues).
It was not going to be hard for Moore to improve the offense statistically from last season. That is what he has done so far, as the Chargers rank seventh in both points scored and yards gained. The real jump that Chargers fans were looking for was in the passing games. Fans didn't want to see Herbert checking down like he was Kirk Cousins anymore.
Moore has delivered exactly what Chargers fans wanted. Not only has the Chargers' offense as a whole taken a step in the right direction, but Herbert is slinging the ball as he should have been in 2021 and 2022.
It has taken just four games for the Chargers to completely cleanse themselves of Joe Lombardi
The Chargers went from a team that loved to check it down and throw the ball behind the sticks (or on stick routes) to a team that is willing to use all parts of the field. Los Angeles has still utilized the short-passing game to a lot of success this season but it has used that short-passing game to set up things down the field. That simply never happened under Lombardi.
Granted, Austin Ekeler missing every game since Week 1 might factor into this a tad as Herbert as lost his No. 1 check-down option. But that does not change the designed looks down the field that Moore has crafted for Herbert. Throw in the occasional check-down to Ekeler on top of what the Chargers are doing and this offense is going to be dynamic.
The Chargers are at their best when Justin Herbert has the ball in his hands and has the opportunity to rip it around the field. The team is at its worst when the offense gets conservative and allows the other team to get back into games against LA's bad defense.
That happened far too often last season as Lombardi would get conservative and treat Herbert like he had Russell Wilson under center. That doesn't appear to be the case this season, which could result in a better outcome come January and February.